Now Playing Online: Surgical Procedures

Toss the popcorn in the microwave and grab a Coke, a new viewing experience is coming your way.  No, I’m not talking about 3D or 4D.  I’m talking about a unique educational experience- watching video of live and previously recorded surgeries.

If you specialize in primary care rather than a field with a strong surgical component, your operating room know-how is probably limited.  Some nurse practitioner and physician assistant students are lucky enough to stand in on a surgery or two during their NP or PA programs.  But, other students have yet to broaden their horizons to include the ever changing world of surgical procedures.

Even if you work in primary care or a setting far from the bright lights and sterile floors of the operating room, familiarity with surgical procedures is a must for medical providers.  Understanding a few basics about common surgeries helps you understand what goes on once you refer a patient to a specialist.  This way, you can help manage your patient’s expectations and answer their questions in greater detail.  What can they expect once they arrive at the hospital?  How long does it take to recover from anesthesia?  Where will the surgeon place the incisions for a cholecystectomy?  While it’s entirely appropriate to refer the patient to their surgeon for such information, educating yourself about various procedures will increase your competence and your patient’s confidence in you as a provider.

If you weren’t able to stand in on a few surgeries during you school’s clinical rotations, the physicians in your hospital are likely willing to let you shadow them for a day to enhance your understanding.  But, between work, school and life’s other commitments, a day of job shadowing may prove difficult to pencil in on the schedule.  Fortunately, there is an innovative solution to this problem.

Some websites are now posting videos of surgical procedures online.  Curious about carotid stenting?  Never seen a TEE (Transesopageal Echocardiogram)?  Not to worry, sites like MedlinePlus, Surgery Theater and ORlive now offer online footage of surgical procedures.  From joint replacements to the Whipple procedure, these videos give the public a sneak peak into the operating room.  Some videos on ORlive are even presented as a series of courses and are eligible for continuing education credit.

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Recently, a physician at Ohio State University even streamed a surgery live using new Google Glass technology.  Other physicians and medical students watched the operation form Dr. Kaedings’s vantage point from miles away.  The growing trend of live educational offerings promises to broaden the possibilities for satisfying your curiosities and enhancing your medical education.

A word of wisdom-caution your patients about watching these videos pre-procedure as this causes trepidation for some individuals.  But, for other patients and especially medical providers surgical footage offers a valuable education.  What better place to familiarize yourself with the surgical world than your own living room?


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